Bullying is so ingrained in our culture today that we don’t even notice it anymore. And one of the places they flourish is in your blog comments. If you allow comments on your blog, you may want to consider discouraging a culture of bullying. There is nothing that will stifle a discussion faster than a mouthy know-it-all who can’t stand any opposition to their narrow view.
For those of you that don’t monitor or address your comments: you are doing your fans a disservice by letting aggressive commenters take over your blog. People who share their opinions and ideas in public are taking a risk. If you allow commenters to be rude and mean at the expense of others in the comment section, you are fostering a culture of bullying. People can share their opinions without belittling others. As a matter of fact, we all need to learn how to do that.
Here are a five tips for maintaining and protecting a civil environment on your blog:
- Require commenters to register to comment with an email address. Most blogs have this function and do not show email addresses to the public. But they are there in case you need to contact someone behind the scenes.
- Create a short two-sentence commenting policy and post it at the beginning of your comment section. People need to know personal attacks on other commenters are off limits.
- Moderate your comments. This is sometimes a pain but it will not only help you with spam, it will help you temper the tempers. It’s okay to be passionate about a cause. It’s another thing to attack someone personally. Set up an email notification to preview comments.
- Don’t call out bullies publicly. Often if just fuels the fire. It is okay to delete a comment. If they are worried about it, they will email you.
- If you write on controversial subjects, this can be difficult. But if you want people to be confident about sharing their opinions without being crucified, then you need to moderate the civility. If you’re a free speech fan, that’s great. Just know that your blog comments may evolve into a mud-slinging malaise of meanness. But if that is your goal, then you are on track.
Bonus tip: Above all, be true to yourself. If the battle of badness is your MO, then go for it. But remember you are not going to get the commenter who has something important to say but doesn’t want to go to battle to say it.
If you’d like to continue the conversation or ask a question, you can find me on Twitter @cksyme.